More than 170 bird species are known to frequent the island, including four varieties of hummingbird and two spectacular Amazon parrots: the Sisserou and the Jaco (see sidebar story). With binoculars, a sharp eye and a little luck, you can add dozens of new species to your life list along the Calibishie Coast, including the Jaco, which occurs in significant numbers along the Coast. The Jaco is most commonly seen feeding among cultivated fruit groves at the edge of the virgin rainforest, or flying over the canopy on an adjacent mountain ridge, sometimes in groups of 8 or more. Your best chance to see and hear the exceptionally rare Sisserou is on the Syndicate Nature Trail at the base of Morne Diablotin, Dominica's tallest mountain, about a 40-minute drive from Calibishie.
The Calibishie Coast is home to two botanical gardens, one located at the Catholic Presbytery near the village of Vielle Casse and the other at Hatton Gardens near Marigot. The Catholic gardens have been meticulously maintained for many years and feature a wide variety of exotic flora. Hatton Gardens is a private botanical preserve and historical museum that remains open to the public for tours while it undergoes conversion to a resort facility.
Hiking & Exploring
From easy walks to difficult hikes over challenging terrain, the Calibishie Coast offers a plethora of outdoor excursions to satisfy all ages and all ability levels. Hike to the bottom of a deep rainforest valley to dive in the pool at Chaudiere Falls, or trek to the Cold Soufriere, an unusual sulfur spring in the mouth of an ancient volcano more than 1000 feet above the sea. Four-wheel drive transportation is required as well as a local guide.
The steep grades and twisting turns of our local roads will give you a challenging workout in surroundings of indescribable natural beauty.
Our freshwater rivers run clean, clear and cool, making them a perfect choice for a refreshing dip on a sunny Caribbean afternoon. The best swimming is often at the point where the river flows into the sea.
Snorkeling & Scuba
The coral reefs that protect our beaches also provide outstanding snorkeling opportunities. You'll have the chance to see myriad species of reef fish, lobsters and crabs, anenomes and sponges, eels and rays. Bring your own gear or enquire at your accommodations. Some have equipment available for guests. Scuba diving is available from several PADI-certified dive shops located in Portsmouth, a 20-minute drive from Calibishie.
photo by Dr. Paul Reillo/RSCF
Dominica's Jaco Parrot
Protecting Dominica's Amazing Parrots|
The thick, undisturbed rainforest and steep mountain ridges of the Calibishie Coast are home to a significant population of Red-Necked Amazon parrots, known locally as the Jaco. The Jaco is one of Dominica's two native parrot species, the other being the Imperial Amazon, known to every Dominican as the Sisserou.
This magnificent parrot, revered as Dominica's national symbol, also is one of the rarest birds in the world with an estimated population of less than 200 individuals. Both the Jaco and Sisserou are considered endangered and are found nowhere else in the world.
Our photos of the Jaco and Sisserou were contributed by Dr. Paul Reillo of the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, a non-profit organization that was instrumental in creating Dominica's Morne Diablotin National Park. Established in 2001 after twenty years of planning and land acquisition, the park encompasses nearly 10,000 acres of critical rainforest habitat used by the Jaco and Sisserou parrots. The creation of the new park will help protect both of Dominica's amazing parrots and improve the odds that their raucous calls will be heard in the rainforest for many years to come.